Folk Fest Day Four: A Perfect Goodbye

Jul 28, 2014

Gary Louris, guitarist, singer, songwriter, and founding member of The Jayhawks rocking out on the mainstage at Calgary Folk Music Festival. Credit: Brandon Wallis.

Entering the gates of the Calgary Folk Music Festival on Sunday, one couldn’t help but feel a little lucky. The sun was once again shining, the crowds were happy, and a festival, which just last year was one of many Calgary institutions that persevered through the flood, was seemingly back to normal and thriving.

After filling the first three days with as many concerts as possible, Sunday afforded the chance to wander around the grounds at Prince’s Island Park and soak in some of the atmosphere of the event. Part of the appeal of the Calgary Folk Music Festival is having the chance to relax and unwind amongst the beautiful setting of its central Calgary location and people were taking full advantage of that on Sunday. To wander through the kiosks and meander past all of the stages was in its own way as enjoyable as the more intensive previous musical undertakings; not to mention the beer gardens, which despite the implementation of seven dollar drink tickets, continued to be a place of good cheer.

But now, the music must not be forgotten. Having been put at ease by these idyllic wanderings, the workshop titled A Welcome Disaster at The National Music Centre Stage 6 was the perfect choice. Featuring Grievous Angels, Tiny Ruins, Typhoon, and The Waco Brothers, the alt-country tinged performances were made even better by the ever present humour of the Grievous Angels.

Happening at the same time as this workshop was a performance by Edmonton band The Provincial Archive at the TD Bank Stage One. Discovering new favourites is always a welcome opportunity at a music festival and The Provincial Archive undoubtedly found some new fans over the weekend with their folk influenced indie rock and warm stage presence. Watch for their new album, It’s All Shaken Wonder, being released on August 19. It was at this point that all of the bands finishing their performances on each stage just before 5:30 pm joined together in a touching tribute to the late folk legend Pete Seeger. Asking the audience to join in, a sing-along commenced with Seeger’s legendary freedom song “If I had a Hammer.”

Immediately after the Pete Seeger tribute, things got started on the Mainstage with Mauritania’s Noura Mint Seymali. In a first for Calgary audiences, Seymali performed on an electric ardine which is like a cross between a harp and a guitar. With a great band backing her up the set was an engaging introduction to the musical styles of Northwest Africa. The Jayhawks took the stage at 7:40 pm fresh off their European tour and a flight from Amsterdam. Showing no signs of the jetlag they were surely experiencing, they played a strong set of their excellent, masterful alt-country all the while working graciously through some sound issues. Recently back performing after a number of hiatuses, the chance to see such a storied band perform live was a great one. Ending the evening and the festival was New Brunswick’s Matt Andersen. With a full band proving that horns really can make everything better, Andersen played out the rest of the evening to a relaxed, appreciative crowd.

As dusk began to set in and the crowd began to disperse, the overall feeling was one of satisfaction after the four days of music in a pristine setting. Now, time to pack away the tarp and get some rest, the 2015 Calgary Folk Music Festival is only one year away.

–Nathaniel Schmidt

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Twitter: @N88TE

About the Author

Brandon Wallis

Brandon is the Director of Marketing, Communications and Visitor Experience and for the National Music Centre and Editor-in-Chief of Amplify.

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